Ancient book is on display at museum

The restored book, The Cotemplations upon the History of the New Terstament,  containing Wesley signatures, goes on display at the Old Rectory. Picture: Malcolm Billingham E0237MB
The restored book, The Cotemplations upon the History of the New Terstament, containing Wesley signatures, goes on display at the Old Rectory. Picture: Malcolm Billingham E0237MB
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The book is entitled Contemplations On The History Of The New Testament and has been in the collection of the Old Rectory since it was donated in 1968.

The woman who gave the book wrote to say that the tome had come into her hands and she wanted to donate it to the historic building - now a museum and tourist attraction.

The Old Rectory is famous throughout the world as the childhood home of John and Charles Wesley, who founded a movement that went on to become the world-wide Methodist Church.

The book is highly significant as it contains the signatures of Charles and his wife Sarah and those of two of their children – also called Charles and Sarah.

Rev Claire Potter, curator at the Old Rectory, explained: “A sponsorship appeal was launched in 2010 encouraging visitors to pay £1 to restore a page. This, along with several private donations, raised a significant amount.

“We were then fortunate to also receive a Museum Development Fund grant from Renaissance Yorkshire and this provided the rest of the money we needed.”

The restoration work involved taking the entire book apart, washing every page, repairing pages and rebinding the 1661 tome with a new cover.

“I thank all those who made a donation towards the restoration, the result of which is astonishing. We now have a very significant book in a wonderful state and trust it will continue to inspire people well into the future,” added Rev Potter.

The book itself also carries another signature, which has been crossed out, from John Jones, who was an early and loyal associate of John Wesley. It is assumed that Mr Jones presented the book to Charles Wesley.